Category Archives: Trots

The Next Four Minutes

At what point does a comeback just evolve back into life?

I was running on the treadmill yesterday- doing my four minute run interval absolutely overwhelmed with excitement at the idea of my four minute run interval- wondering to myself at what point my comeback morphs into the daily grind of a gym goer.

Every day of work that I put in feels like another brick and mortar of recovery and it motivates me to keep pushing further from the day I caught my leg in my pants, fell down, and couldn’t get up. Maybe I am back to regular workout status once people stop interrupting my workouts to ask me, “How is your (enter any mixture of injured body parts here)?”

Now that I am running again (on a treadmill, for four minutes at a time) I am in a permanent state of runner’s high. My body was in withdrawal for almost two years, and now that I have had a reminder of how it feels, I’m in a constant state of awaiting my next four minutes.

Maybe we would all benefit from the comeback mindset. The mental setting that we have much progress ahead of us, and each step forward is a milestone worth telling the world about. Every time we finish a workout there is a crowded arena screaming our name. Every time we lift heavier, our name is in the paper for setting new records. And every single rep we complete, we can remind ourselves, “I couldn’t do this before”.

With the mental, physical, real, and imagined highs of the comeback journey, there must be the moments that bring our feet and faces back down to the ground; the universe giving us a friendly reminder that we aren’t as invincible as we briefly consider ourselves to be. Considering yourself to be in a “safe” place usually means that your face is about to hit the ground, so maybe embracing the comeback status is protective.

As long as progress continues, combined with the awareness there is much ground to cover, I suppose it doesn’t need any label other than that.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Run To Bust

I feel like I am getting close to race day… Not because I feel ready but because my body is worn out. The race is 14 days away and it feels like a 10 foot tall hurdle screaming towards me.

For a blog with the theme of overcoming obstacles, I sure have a lot of material to write on.

Last Friday my knee buckled during my workout and after standing for at least 12 hours a day this week, it is pushing back. I haven’t run in 8 days, I haven’t done any lower body exercises in 8 days, and at this rate I picture myself ending up jacked up top and soft on the bottom. Like actually with a straight horizontal line where the muscle just stops.

On top of that, my mood has been getting exponentially aggressive as I watch the race date approach while I am at standstill.

This world has a consistency that really never fails. This was my last heavy leg day before I planned to transition out of going crazy in the gym. My last set of my last exercise was when everything came crashing down. Literally. I was on the leg press finishing with one leg at a time and my left knee just passed on its turn. This makes me feel like every other time I said I worked out to failure was a cop out.

I did have another trainer tell me I worked as hard as someone who was going to the Olympics. Minus the injury, that felt good.

New strategy: run on pace for my goal time and risk death by bruised body and bruised pride? Now I just need to find a doctor who will encourage me to keep running… Not happy. Doctor’s report to follow.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

First Things First

Sometimes one commitment has to overrule another. So for a few reasons there will be no triathlon for me in the near future. An overestimated range of motion in my bad shoulder, and a lack of ability to train my best for two different upcoming events are main factors.

In April I will race 5km but the triathlon will have to wait. Maybe later this season or maybe next year. Right now my priority is to do one thing (well) at a time. As much as I am disappointed in having to scale back, I can recognize how much I love to get carried away. My workout today was full of dropping weights to perfect my form before I add weight back. Maybe the feeling of progress just gets addictive or maybe we give ourselves too much credit thinking that our reflection has better form than we do. Regardless of how we get there, a lot of us seem to end up pushing more than we can at some point.

One of my clients set a new personal best pushing 8 plates (360lbs) on the decline leg press yesterday because he put half the plates on the wrongs pegs- he thought he was taking them off and not loading them. So for some of us, it is accidental.

My running has been going slowly but now I am officially registered to race and what is better motivation than the realization of approaching deadlines. The hardest part of running right now is the weather. If I didn’t have a job I probably wouldn’t leave my apartment… seriously. It is spring and it is snowing in Toronto. Motivation seems like an idea only for those who don’t live in layers of bundled clothing.

I am looking for a sub 24 minute run on April 27th and hoping for an injury free journey there. My plan is to run 5k outside this weekend and then I will base my next month of training off my time. Here we go again!!

dreamers

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

One Year + One Week + One Day

Today my roots of running resurfaced as I set a new PB for my leg workout. The same death defying workout (not actually but my quads will say otherwise) from last week, except I heaved to completion in almost fifteen minutes less time. In theory, it seems like less time means less pain however that assumption would be incorrect, as I tested this morning.

Cardio strength training is making a re-appearance to my program (unbelievably, no this was not it yet) so I have scheduled myself in with another trainer, R, tomorrow to workout. I am really focused on learning all that I can and so far this year, I can proudly say I have already soaked up so much more about fitness, training, and nutrition. Luckily, I have some co-workers who are dedicated, selfless promoters of all things fitness and I feel like I am standing on the shoulders of giants.

Side note: If anyone has any suggestions how to thank a person for sharing daily life-altering wisdom, I would love to hear it. All I have got so far is the priceless stuff… as in, actually priceless, like high fives and shouts across the gym such as: “YOU DA MAN”!

I am getting excited to start running again to see what a difference my strength makes. I already notice a substantial difference in my strength and in my body composition which feels rewarding enough. Well, I guess not enough, because I am still charging ahead.

There are 14 weeks until I race again.

If I needed a good omen then I found it: this race- to be exact- will be one year, one week, and one day after my surgery.

Let’s do this, PB.

change

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday Funday (Run Day)

My plan for the weekend was to be lazy because on Friday I did a workout of superset dropsets. If you don’t know what that means, think of going to failure. And then repeat. And repeat. Until you have 5 pound dumbbells in each hand and you’re grunting like you’re lifting a car and people aren’t even trying to pretend they aren’t staring at you.

My body responded well to taking the week off of barbell squats and pushups which was really disappointing because I was somehow convinced I knew my shoulder better than my surgeon. That was false. My asymmetries also seemed to backslide this week, likely because of a crazy week of training (others) and not finding quite enough time to train myself.

This morning I felt like staying in and just getting work done. Just some reading and some programming, and my fitness was dancing along to Christmas carols when I got up to make more tea.

But the body wants what it wants. And it decided to run.

Maybe it was the calming view of fall snowing through my window, or maybe it was the music that made me feel like outside was a magical wonderland. Either way, I needed to clear my head and I think my neighbours probably needed a break from the power ballads that Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera call Christmas carols. If they could even hear them over top of me singing/screaming along.

I bundled up and headed out into a slushy mess not resembling the untouched snow on my balcony that looked so inviting. Ah yes, the season of irregular cadences, unpredictable footing, and 100:1 chance of spontaneous injury. This was our first big snowfall in Toronto this year, and it made up for our lack of snow earlier in the season.

I headed out away from the main streets into a quiet neighbourhood nearby. I ran around a park full of families sledding which created a soundtrack of children yelling and laughing over top of my heavy breathing. As I slipped along home, my keys jingled reassuringly in my pocket and my phone bounced around in the other (lesson learned; you never know when you might get hit by a car). I zig-zagged from one sidewalk to the other depending on which looked safer or less congested with slow moving, bundled up bodies. This ended up getting a little bit frustrating but winter running is never for speed. Unless you are participating in a bobsled or luge race.

I got back home with my tear stained cheeks in a big smile and I was about to walk back inside as someone in an old school fake wooden paneled minivan honked and yelled at me. I gave him a thumbs up because I’m sure he yelled something like “Hey aren’t you the girl from the blog?!” Gee, people in Toronto are friendly. 🙂

snowrun

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Hitting My Stride

Eye of the Tiger playing on repeat didn’t work last time so I tried a new strategy today… which was just being normal.

I signed up for a race this weekend after my dreams were crushed in last weekend’s attempt. Well, that is an exaggeration but I had wanted a better result. I had my mind set on beating 25 minutes, but my body didn’t follow through. So I set up a plan to try again.

I came to my parents house this weekend for a visit and of course, for another race. Luckily for me, all conditions were in my favour, especially compared to my last race. The weather was as close to perfect as it ever gets for races, and it was the opposite of the hurricane- like scene of last weekend. I had a ride to the race which also meant I had a warm up buddy (thanks mom) and I could strip down my layers at the last minute. My dad made sure to weave through the women at the start line to give me a firm handshake and yell “Give ’em shit!” which did a great job of clearing me some space.

Due to lots of rain over the past week, the original course was flooded and the new route was much flatter. Like I said, things were turning up in my favour.  We were running an out and back course on a flat bike path, I had a great starting position, my laces were double knotted, and my cheering section was waiting for 25 minutes (as they specified).

The first kilometre was the hardest but at the 1k mark, I was running a 4:50 pace and that was a good feeling. As we ran through the park I saw some old co-workers and after yelling a friendly greeting, I almost forgot I was racing. The bonus to running in my hometown is that I know that park inside and out, and it is easy to get comfortable. As comfortable as racing can be.

Beyond the turnaround, I found I had a new cheering section in the runners behind me. Some friends from old soccer teams or people I knew from the running community hollered my name and yelled encouragement as I headed back to the finish. That felt great and I found more motivation to get myself across the finish line even faster.

Turning the last corner before the finish was when I really started gasping for air… but then I saw the clock. I could roll to the finish line and cross this goal off of my list. Not only did I beat my last time, but I beat my goal time. I really beat it. I happily crossed the finish line at 24:32, high fiving strangers and looking for my parents’ excited faces in the crowd.

As a kid, running races with my family was just an average weekend. It’s funny, though; 15 years later and there is still no feeling that matches seeing your proud parents cheering you on from the sidelines.

Another good feeling is having to set another goal.

training

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Round 2

Last you heard from me, I had upgraded my comeback to ‘quest’ status. And I take my questing very seriously. So, I am throwing myself back into it. I am registered to race next Sunday. Eight days to get things together is potentially not my best idea but the race payment has gone through so let’s see what happens.

Race photos from last weekend were finally posted so I could witness the pain all over again, as well as experience it from a new angle. My impatient wait for photos was rewarded with pictures I have no recollection of. That is the funny thing about finish line photos; our brains are half dead and half on speed. I swore I was alone but it turns out there are three women right behind me.

And nothing breaks your confidence like seeing someone you perceive as “unfit” in your finish line photo. Is that a terrible thing to say?

My mom has a finish line photo featuring a white haired, frail looking man right behind her, and I remember her pointing that out a few times. The problem is that several races can finish at the same time so you just don’t know who will photobomb your memories. The cropping feature was invented for finish line photos.

Maybe my goal for Sunday will be to make sure I finish with lots of space around me. Who knows, maybe I can photoshop in a Kenyan or two.

2013-04-23-Finish-Line

Tagged , , , ,

23 Seconds

I spent most of last night laying awake in bed listening to the screaming winds push my Adirondack chairs back and forth on my balcony like it was a ship rocking in a storm. I watched the clock delaying the time I would have to get up to bring the chairs in to rescue the cars below. I probably only slept for about 4 hours partly because the wind kept me up, and partly because it was race day. The Weather Network was left open on my laptop; I refreshed it more times than I could count as if that would somehow stop The Perfect Storm outside.

Once I got up, I had my usual breakfast and put on everything I had laid out the night before, like the first day of school. Not feeling too nervous, I decided to take a cab instead of a bus because I wanted to stay as dry as possible (and yes at the time I thought this might be possible). I arrived to a scene of runners huddled under umbrellas and tents, and spectators looking like they were all dragged out of their cozy beds against their will. The turn out was still really good, it was just lacking the energy that good weather brings out in people.

The race started smoothly and I felt really good. The first kilometre was a herd of women jockeying for position on a narrow bike path while sidestepping deep puddles and slippery leaves. When I saw the first kilometre marker, I felt relaxed, I had a good position, but I was 30 seconds behind pace. This wasn’t the time to panic yet because I consistently run the second half faster. It was on my mind, though. I pushed on and I ran at the pace I had planned on for the next 3km.

At the 4km mark, my watch read 20:39 and that first kilometre came back to haunt me. I ran to the finish by myself on a winding path that made it harder to try to pick off the women ahead. The headwind did not let up but neither did I. The finish line came and I crossed it vertical, and tired, but running. I still felt surprisingly strong, but finish line photos always make you second guess that you were more than half alive. I will report back after I see what state of contortion my face was in.

My chip time was 25:23 and although my initial reaction was frustration and disappointment, those have faded, and a runner’s high is all that is left. I did not reach my goal but I ran, and all things considered, I ran well. Now that I am back home, I am doing the next logical thing anyone would do; I am signing up for another 5km race.

My goal is still a 25 minute 5k, but now it feels like a quest. I haven’t reached it yet but I can taste it. And it tastes like rum and coke… wait no. That’s my celebratory rum and coke.

post5km

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘Twas The Night Before…

As the race approaches, stress increases, and blog posting accelerates! If you love cheesy puns and motivational sayings then keep refreshing this page!

I picked up my race kit today so I am officially ready to go according to my post it note checklist. When I got there, my name was on the registration list twice and my age was wrong (on both). Smooth sailing so far! The weather forecast for tomorrow is cold, wet, extra windy, and extra terrible. Feels like -1 degree Celsius, 90% chance of rain, and winds 45-69km/h. The course is an out and back route, and according to these forecasts the gale force winds will be against us in the second half. I thought I was challenging myself enough but the world wants me to know that it is still the one in charge. You don’t have to be an athlete to realise that these conditions are far from ideal to set a personal best, but stranger things have happened. Or so I keep trying to convince myself.

Today I was a stressed out disaster, accepting all well wishes with a shudder and a wave of nausea. Why did I tell people that I was racing?! I know myself and I know that I will ask this over and over again until I finish tomorrow. Then perhaps continue to wonder. And I probably will never come up with an answer. Us runners are a strange breed.

This is just the beginning, though. Being one race in means big things to come. This is the baseline to my fresh start (again) and I am confident I can get to the finish line even in if it is an army crawl of partial consciousness. That would be more aerodynamic anyways. Some of my parts may be gimpy but I know how to work them like the tricks you learn to keep your parents’ minivan idling without overheating.

Okay.

No more talk of mental strategy or disfigured body parts.

No more weather based (or unrelated) excuses because the race hasn’t started yet.

My game face is on.

And so are my pajamas.

photo

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s The Fiiii-nal Countdown

As my pre-race week diminishes, my relationship with my foam roller has been upgraded to intimate and exclusive. I feel like an unprepared disaster, and 5k feels like a marathon.

All I really need to do is stay out of my head. Those who know me, know that over-analyzing is just my “thing”. My mind is already gone down paths of what comes next if I achieve my goal, or how do I respond if I fall short. What I should really be concerned about is how I have run more this week than I have any other week in the past year and that seems like a terrible send-off to race weekend. We will all question our training once the competition gets close, but I may still be adding to questions to the list I will have to answer.

The only thing I can do now is watch YouTube clips of slow motion running montages while screaming along to a loop of Europe’s The Final Countdown.

Join me?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sblvu-PvTi4#t=157 ] Thanks to RN for the slo mo montage!

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw ]

I have one last tune up (overhaul) with my chiropractor tomorrow, one day before the race. Hopefully he can snap my body parts back in place just long enough for me to give myself my own readjustment, as my runs always seem to disorient my skeleton.

The weather looks like it will be cold and wet which is the condition I ran my 25:05. I will do my best to recreate everything else from that run, and just hope my legs are under me on Saturday! 🙂

abrn639l

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: